Often, when traveling, we miss some of the most influential areas in the country. One of the most stunning yet easy to overlook areas of our nation is the Tennessee Valley. The Tennessee Valley has an illustrious history from it founding all the way to the many influences the region has had on the music scene within the United States. If you have yet to visit this stunning region of the country, what are you waiting for
What do you think of when you think of Memphis, Tennessee? If you are like the vast majority of individuals, BBQ and blues come to mind. Memphis is where the blues originated and has been instrumental in influencing countless artists from virtually all music genres. Memphis is an enjoyable experience with music on every corner and over 633,000 residents that call this city home.
The music lover will be in true heaven in Memphis, TN. Sun Studios is considered the birth place of rock and roll. Originally, they signed Elvis Presley, but he was not the only big name to come from the studio. Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis found their way to Sun Studios and into the spotlight. Today, you can still hear covers from these greats as you stroll down Beale Street.
Memphis is not just about music. This area was instrumental in the Civile Rights Movement and is home to the National Civil Rights Museum. The museum is a unique look at Civil Rights and the sacrifices made throughout the movement. The Site is the hotel where Martin Luther King Jr was shot right outside his hotel room, replicas of period cars and the room where the incident took place are on display. The museum is hallowed ground for many and is a place that you should certainly plan to visit while in Memphis.
While strolling along the streets of Memphis, hunger is inevitable. When your tummy begins to rumble in this city, the only solution is BBQ. Memphis Style BBQ is famous and when you want to treat yourself to a true treasure, head to Central BBQ. Low and slow is the key with this delectable delicacy and Central BBQ does it right. Once your belly is full of all the meat you can eat, why not try something sweet at Peabody Deli and Dessert. Memphis is full of amazing restaurants and you can truly eat yourself silly in this illustrious city.
Country music is everywhere in Nashville. Even for those who are not a fan of the genre, Nashville is electrifying. Nashville was founded in 1779 and has become the capital of Tennessee. The city is located along the Cumberland River and there is always something fun to do on, in, or anywhere around the water. Nashville is a stunning city full of big city lights and dreams from hopefuls looking to make it big. A visit here is like no other and you will not leave disappointed.
Ok, first of all, country music is king here, so get ready to be inundated with some truly unique and awe-inspiring performances. Make no mistake about it, plenty of music can be heard from the street, but to truly get your fill, you need to venture inside the Grand Ole Opry. This location is where some of the most famous country music singers got their start and although the original stage has been discarded, the new stage has a small round cut out featuring boards from the original stage, so you can still stand where the greats have stood for decades. If you happen to be among the few who are not familiar with country music, take a trip to the Country Music Hall of Fame to get caught up on what you need to know.
If you are traveling with children, Nashville is full of fun activities to keep them busy. Animal lovers can venture over to the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere while those who enjoy understanding how things work can head to the Adventure Science Center. During the summer, travelers have an extra special place to enjoy. Nashville Shores is full of incredible water slides and beach areas to keep you cool all summer long.
If music is king, food is prince here in Nashville, TN. Naturally, being in the south, fried foods are where it is at, so leave your diets at home and head over to Haddie Bs Hot Chicken. This chicken will certainly bring the heat, but the interior is perfectly cooked and will leave you coming back for more. If Haddie Bs is crowded or out of your way, try the Loveless Café. Their chicken and biscuits will have you singing praises to the southern gods of soul food.
Chattanooga, TN is a destination in itself. Located in the southern part of Tennessee, this city brings in visitors from around the world. With a residential population approaching 200,000, this growing city offers some incredible sites, sounds, and eats. The Chattanooga River runs right through the city offering a place to keep cool while enjoying a fun filled summer afternoon in the city.
If it is your first time visiting Chattanooga, there are a few notable places you need to stop at first. The Tennessee Aquarium is an institution and is among the oldest aquariums in the country. Although other states have tried to replicate its success, none can stand up to the charm of this amazing attraction. Another can’t miss attraction is Rock City. You will see signs and barns for this more and more the closer you get to Chattanooga, so do not fight it. Enjoy the journey through this natural landscape. It is a lot of walking, but Rock City is beautiful.
Another great place to enjoy a bit of sunshine is Lookout Mountain. From the mountain, you can see 7 states. However, these days, there is no reason to simply walk up the mountain. The Lookout Mountain Incline Railway makes it easy. You can sit back and let it take you to the peak while you enjoy the scenery and take pictures. Chattanooga, TN is an outdoors enthusiast’s dream so while you are visiting the city, never neglect the opportunity to see the natural sites this area is known for.
Chattanooga, TN has one of the most versatile food scenes anywhere in the south. Practically anything is available from Italian food at Primo Northshore or classic American dishes at the Feed CO. Table and Tavern. There is one, very distinct restaurant that has become wildly popular for both visitors and locals. It is called the Boathouse. The Boathouse features some of the most incredible seafood and land based dishes anywhere in Tennessee. It is also located on the river, so the ambiance is remarkably romantic.
Knoxville, TN is only slightly larger than Chattanooga with just under 200,000 residents. Knoxville is located just 35 miles from the Great Smoky Mountains State Park, but seems a world away. While here, you can expect to enjoy an atmosphere of acceptance among residence as Knoxville is among the more progressive cities in the state. You will also have a lot of fun exploring the many museums and attractions that make the city an excellent place to visit.
One of the most iconic features of Knoxville is the Sunsphere. This was the location of the World’s Fair in 1982. It is the only structure remaining from the event and still towers over the city. Visiting the Sunsphere has been a welcomed thing for many visitors, but today, it is an event venue. Feel free to check out the webpage for events you can attend, but it is not open for tours. However, a few fun places to visit in Knoxville are Zoo Knoxville and Ljams Nature Center.
Part of the charm of Knoxville is now found above ground, but below. Cherokee Caverns is an excellent place to visit when the heat becomes too much during the summer. Exploring the caves allows you to find some interesting areas to take pictures and enjoy a cool, comfortable environment. Even during the heat of summer, a light jacket may be required when touring the caves.
Knoxville, TN is home to some remarkable restaurants. Many, like Conners Steak and Seafood, have won some impressive awards. This establishment won 2011 Best Steak award and has a remoulade sauce you will crave long after your meal is completed. If you are seeking an alfresco dining experience and a bit of American food or BBQ, Calhoun’s on the River can’t be beat.
The Tennessee Valley is an area where you can feel comfortable. Although the cities are very large, they have not lost that iconic small town feel. Also, the location in the Tennessee mountains gives you ample opportunity to find a fun hiking trail or a small fishing spot to catch your prized fish. This area is ideal for when you want to enjoy a vacation without all the hustle and bustle. Enjoy the Tennessee Valley and all the joy it will bring your way.